What Happens if You Die Without a Will?

How to protect loved ones from challenges to your Will

Garry Bushell provided sage advice on how to protect your non-traditional family from other family members using the archaic intestacy rules to contest your Will in My Estate Planning Expert last week. We just wanted to flag up Will contestation as a growing trend and advise you of steps we are currently taking – and steps you can take now – to protect your Will from such challenges…

It’s not just the likes of the very real Paul Daniels and the fictitious Ken Barlow who are open to family members contesting their Will, it’s all of us, but especially those of us who are in blended families (families where there may have been more than one marriage). The problem is, you see, that, should a member of such a family contest a Will, the law courts use archaic intestacy rules to make the final judgement, rules that do not take into account typical modern family structures including unmarried life partnerships, divorces and subsequent marriages.

In another post on My Estate Planning Expert, experts share four reasons why there is such an increase in Will contestations (80% over the last decade) and six things you can do to ensure your Will can not be contested when you die. Click through to read in detail or read on for a summary.

According to My Estate Planning Expert:

  1. You can protect a Will against claims of undue influence by ensuring that everyone who needs to be present when discussing elderly or ill people's Wills and wishes are present.
  2. You can protect a Will against claims of "lack of mental capacity" by encouraging older people and people who are terminally ill to make a Will (or update a Will) now, before it can be claimed that they lacked capacity when making a Will.
  3. You can protect a Will against claims that the person who signed it did not understand (or approve) it by getting an expert Will writer to write, or to check, the Will (we offer a Will checking service by experts in Will writing for £35).
  4. You can protect against claims that the Will was forged by using the services of a solicitor or by using a Wills online provider that you know to be regulated, such as Active Wills.
  5. You can protect a Will against claims that there is a mistake in the Will that needs rectifying by paying extreme attention to detail when writing a Will or signing a Will. Again, an affordable way to double check for potential errors is to use an online Will-writing service, such as Active Wills, that provides legal checks by expert Will writers.
  6.  You can protect a Will against claims that close family members have not been given reasonable financial provision, under the Inheritance Act 1975 by leaving a Letter of Intent to explain why you have left people out of your Will, or perhaps not left them as much as they may feel entitled to.

We’re taking steps to help you protect your Will …

We’re pleased to announce that we are now working with the editor of My Estate Planning Expert on an ebook providing further advice on this topic and a ‘Letter of Intent’ template. 

Want a free copy, click here.

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